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Tips on Greening Your Holiday Cleanup

The tree and much of the wrapping and packaging can be recycled for a greener holiday season.(cohdra/morguefile)
The tree and much of the wrapping and packaging can be recycled for a greener holiday season.(cohdra/morguefile)
December 29, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Not every town had a white Christmas this year, but everyone can have a green holiday season with a little effort.

Of course, Christmas trees can be recycled - as long as all decorations, hooks and even the wooden stakes off the bottom are carefully removed. Shirlene Sitton, director of environmental services for the City of Santa Fe, said their recycling program is designed to keep the trees from clogging up the landfill or being dumped on the side of the road.

"This keeps them out of the landfill and in most cases they'll be mulched and it helps to reduce the need for water and protects your plants against both cold and heat and breaks down into nutrients for your soil,” Sitton said. "So you're keeping trees in their natural cycle by mulching them and not landfilling them."

Check the website for your city or town to find local Christmas tree drop-off sites.

Sitton advises simply reusing gift bags, boxes, tissue paper and ribbons. She said most of the wrapping and packaging from presents can be recycled as well.

"Non-foiled Christmas wrap, if it's just plain paper, any paper is recyclable. Most plastics are recyclable,” she said. "Styrofoam is not; expanded polystyrene is not."

According to the EPA, an additional 1 million tons of household waste ends up in landfills between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day each year.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NM